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Film review: FAST AND FURIOUS 6, from Built For Speed

Fast and Furious 6, which sounds like the title of a ballsier Enid Blyton novel, is an utterly preposterous action film that verges on “so bad it’s good” territory.  This is a film for the computer game generation so forget realism and consequences, just imbibe the hedonistic and unbridled destruction in a film so ridiculous and so disconnected from reality it makes GI Joe: Retaliation look like a Mike Leigh film.

In fact Furious 6 bares a disturbing resemblance to GI Joe with the voluminous Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who plays FBI agent Hobbs, leading yet another crew of highly skilled gun-toting operatives.  This time, though, it’s those delightful car-jacking rev heads Toretto (Vin Diesel), O’Conner (Paul Walker), Gisele (Gal Gadot) and Tej (Ludacris) we’ve come to know from the previous F and F’s.  In a storyline that takes off directly from Fast 5’s end credits coda, rogue SAS commando Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) has formed a posse of mercenaries – including Diesel’s former love Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) – who are stealing high-grade military weapons components. Of course the FBI and the US military can’t deal with this themselves so they need to call in a bunch of petrol-head criminals.

This film is mainly composed of gleefully ludicrous action scenes in which all laws of the road, physics and human mortality are shattered. The action sequences become increasingly silly with characters surviving gun shots, explosions and car crashes completely unscathed.  The scene where one character leaps from a disintegrating vehicle and flies through air like Peter Pan before catching another person had the audience vomiting their popcorn with laughter.

The action also becomes increasingly incoherent with the camera flailing about madly making it almost impossible to know what’s going on.  The fight scenes are virtually incomprehensible which is infuriating given that many of them feature mixed martial arts champion Gina Carano.

Despite all the shootings, fight scenes and outrageous car chases, this film is actually slow-moving and has virtually no plot momentum and almost no plot.  Scattered between the action scenes are moments of sketchy exposition, ok comedy courtesy of Tyrese who once again plays Roman Pearce and a moderately successful attempt at forlorn romance between Diesel and Rodriguez.

Apart from a few gags the dialogue in this film mainly consists of ridiculous macho quips almost none of which are remotely clever, insightful or funny.

Performances are one dimensional and perfunctory although The Rock, with his big toothy grin, displays the easy charm which, along with his Hulk-like physique, has made him an action star.  Vin Diesel once again threatens seismic damage with his rumbling basso profondo voice but his introspective character gives the film a sliver of emotional depth.

Fast and Furious 6 is ridiculous and a major backward step for cinema and possibly civilization but it almost seduces us with its goofy appeal.  How many films provide the bizarre and hilarious sight of 150 kilogram men using ballet lifts in the midst of brawl.

Nick’s rating: Two stars

Cassification: M.

Director(s): Justin Lin.

Release date: 6th June 2013.

Running time: 130 mins.

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